Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Developing a Mobile App- Part I
In this post, I will ask you a few questions that you should answer before start building your app. However, I will give you an answer structure for each question that would help you answering them correctly.
Why do I need to answer any question, it’s just an app, not a quiz contest, right?
To build an app, you will have to choose a development team to hire or a company to outsource in order to get your app designed and developed.
The developing team will bombard with questions to know your requirement. But, what if, you are not clear about what you want. It will be hard for them to deliver an app, if the client lacks in the clarity of requirement, because, the consequences will be multiple revisions.
There are, however, a few important questions you can ask yourself in order to determine your app requirement. Also, it will make easier for the developers to fix the nuts and bolts while building your app.
A list of questions and answers:
1. On which platform my app should be built?
Ans: The platform has been divided into two:
a) Hybrid/Cross-platform apps
b) Native apps.
On which platform your app should be built depends on the time and budget constraints.
- Performance is an essential factor that needs to be considered while building a mobile app. In such case, the native app is the hero, due to its speed and quick response. However, it is time-taking in terms of coding as the native apps needs to be written in each OS (Android, iOS, Windows) separately.
- Whereas, cross-platform apps cut down the time and cost in coding. With a single code it can be maintained across multiple device platforms, therefore, it saves a lot of time in app development.
If we compare cross-platform apps against native apps, cross-platform lacks at some point in performance to respond quickly.
2. Which device my app should target first?
Ans: Go with an Android and iOS app first since they dominate 98% percent of the market! Windows phone is used by only a minuscule percentage of people. Source
If you have a limited budget and have to choose between iOS and Android, as a rule of thumb, build and launch an Android app first. As per Gartner’s report, Android now has a staggering 84.7% market share.
These are thumb rules. You should also take into account your target audience. For example, if you are targeting affluent users or say you are targeting creative professionals, it would be a good idea to develop an iOS version first.
Alternatively, you can go with a hybrid app that can run on multiple platforms on a single code base. Hybrid apps are coded in non-native technology.
Native apps are programmed specifically for a platform i.e., iOS native apps are programmed in Objective-C or Swift language and built using the SDK provided by Apple. On the other hand, there are various technology options available to develop hybrid apps (e.g. Cordova, Titanium, React Native from FB, etc.).
It is tempting to consider going with a hybrid app since it seems to be the cheapest and fastest way to have a mobile presence on all platforms. But like everything is life there are no free lunches! Hybrid apps usually lack the smoothness and they have other problems. LinkedIn and Facebook both chucked their hybrid apps and relaunched with their native apps. Read an interesting piece why linkedIn dumped their Hybrid HTML5 based app.
3. Whether I should go with in-house or outsource my app to get developed?
Ans: Choosing between in-house developers or outsourcing your app completely depends on your preferences.
Probably, you must have read or heard from others that in-house is time-taking and expensive whereas, outsourcing is cheaper and time-effective. Both the statements are precisely incorrect.
Although, due to some factors outsourcing is preferable than having in-house developers.
Outsourcing is convenient because of various reasons:-
- It gives you quality work as the app development company owns a dedicated professional team including developers, testers, and project managers to handle an app from beginning to end.
- An app development company can actually save your time and money as they don’t need to build every feature from scratch. They will have their own existing library tested and optimized which can be customized and tweaked according to your app requirement.
- Moreover, in-house developing gives you an output of exactly how you tailored your requirement while outsourcing an app gives you experts advice on improvisation if needed.
In-house becomes a better option in a few situations like:-
- Mostly, in-house developing and outsourcing costs no more no less, it’s approximately equal. However, if your app is not a real big project or needs a temporary change should be done by in-house developers, outsourcing in such case might get costly.
- If your project is confidential or difficult to put all the details on a table, you should go for in-house developers. Because being a part of your company they will have better understanding about the domain-specific requirements. Communicating your requirements will get easy. Also, they will be more responsive to your project.
- Daily updates is another advantage that makes in-house app development a better option to choose.
4. Should my app be available for paid or free to download?
Ans: The choice between the free app and paid app depends on what brings you profit.
Which is more beneficial for your business? There are some pros and cons to both the options. You may able to decide which one is appropriate for your business after learning the pros and cons of both the downloading options.
- Paid apps: In paid apps, it’s a guaranteed revenue, if the app is engaging enough and offers interesting options to attract the targeted users. Certainly, every download will generate revenue for your business.
But, the demerit of paid apps is, it decreases the likelihood of users downloading your app. So, if you are offering a paid app, you have to make sure your brand is popular enough. Also, it meets the user’s requirement and solves a specific problem.
The merit is your app will get loyal and enduring customers as they will pay for it. You can also have in-app purchases in paid apps.
- Free apps: However, in free apps, you cannot be sure if it will generate revenue or not. But, the good thing is, people will get easily convinced to download your app, as you will be offering it for free.
According to human behaviour, people will be more attracted to download an app, if it is available for free. However, in order to achieve revenue, you can offer in-app purchases.
It must speak about the advantages of having your app in the mobile phones. If it’s engaging enough to attract users, they will get convinced to pay anything for it.
- Freemium apps: An innovative business model has stepped into the limelight while offering awesome free and paid services at a single time to its users. Apart from giving the product for free usage, the freemium app sells its premium products.
Basically, the freemium apps are available for free but it can generate revenue while charging for upgrades and additional services. However, purchasing is not mandatory, but in order to use any kind of additional services they have to pay for it.
For example, Hootsuite, a most-sought-after social media management tool which allows managing up to three social media accounts in it for free. But, if a user wants to add more social media profiles to be managed will have to purchase. It’s obvious that a person will have more than three social media profiles, especially someone who is into a business.
Hoping that this will help, I have decided to write a Part II of Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Built an App. In the next part, I will be discussing a few more questions that include what kind of features you can avail for an app and whether it suits your app or not. Let’s get started.